Putt O'Nyos

Archive for the ‘random musings & frustrations’ Category

Dear Putt

In random musings & frustrations on November 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I encourage my readers to submit their queries, curiosities, complaints, and praises to theracymouthfeel@gmail.com I highly value your feedback, and will do my utmost to summarily and sufficiently respond. If I feel like it.

1. You’ve mentioned a couple things you wouldn’t drink – lambrusco, pinot grigio, grüner veltliner. What do you actually drink?

False. There’s a time and a place for all the above. I have, I do, and I will continue to drink  these wines when I see fit. If you had read more carefully, you would have understood that.

What do I actually drink? Oh, so many things. That’s why it infuriates me so to see some people flagrantly drink the same shit day after day. We’re living in some pretty fantastic times as far as wine is concerned; its diversity is impressive and ought to be respected and explored.

What I drink on a given day or night depends on several factors. That’s not a cop-out, it’s the truth. How much do I want to spend? With whom am I drinking? What am I eating? What am I craving?  This may seem like entirely too much thought for such a transitory pleasure. It’s not.

Sidenote: I’m sick of people explaining that they have to drink Natty Light due to budget restrictions. I get it. Times are tough. But are they ever that tough? I mean really. If it’s bang for you buck you’re looking for, then you’ve failed. And I can’t imagine it’s organoleptically satisfying.

But I digress. Here’s what I’ve been drinking in the past week or so.

During Sandy: Manzanilla sherry. Trapped in my apartment, yet I felt like I was in southern Spain.

After a night of work: Brewskies, particularly the gratuitously hopped American IPA vein. Cold & carbonated, bitter & boozy is always a great late-night combo.

With friends & food: Depends on the food, but sangiovese is generally a safe bet. Food-friendly with lots of room for variation: funky & bright, dark & serious, etc.

Any time, all the time: Bubbles. Blanquette de Limoux, specifically. A touch of sweetness, persistent bubbles, a sense of refinement that doesn’t break the bank.

When I need a challenge, or a reminder of what wine can be: Anything by Julien Meyer. Or from the Jura.

Never: Never say never.

2. What’s with all the Italy jabs?

Is it possible to simultaneously love and hate something? For sure. Rosé and Italy fall into this category. When I first began drinking wine many years ago it was all Italian juice, and I was drinking it in Italy. The country taught me the true value of wine – where it comes from, how it is made and by whom – and equally as important, how to drink the stuff to respect all its complexities. For that I am eternally grateful. But Italy also taught me the true value of a not-so-subtley veiled look of contempt accompanied by vigorous vertical hand gestures and an emphatic non mi prendere per il culo. For that I am also eternally grateful.

3. So you’re a bartender. Are you this much of an asshole at work?

What kind of bartender would that make me? A guy’s got to make a buck, after all.

4. Alright, Putt. Same old, same old. Got anything else?

Limericks. Lots o’ limericks. I refuse to believe that people don’t care for rhymes.

To drink sans thought is offensive

So pardon my bein’ aggressive

For ‘tis such a waste

Not to spread my taste

Face it: I’m right, not excessive.


of snobs & assholes

In random musings & frustrations on October 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm

In honour of Halloween, let’s talk about what scares you – and more importantly, why it shouldn’t.

The Wine Snob. (BOO!)

Yes, we all know this guy: the one who all too willingly elaborates on how the volcanic soil on which the vines were planted truly comes through in the glass; he is utterly incapable of hiding his disdain at the mention of any Italian white; he swirls, sniffs, swishes the stuff round his mouth, and pronounces it “Chablisean” or “unctuous” or “mere child’s play compared to the 1945”; he says “Jerez” – pronounced “Jereth” – instead of sherry, and scoffs at the thought of an adolescent ten-year Tawny.

And why does he scare you?

Because all his grand gestures and pretension imply that he knows something that you don’t, and consequently you should be ashamed for your ignorance. His statements may not be entirely devoid of value, but they are made in a deliberately exclusive way. He seems to forget that wine is a social drink, and as such should be used to include rather than alienate. But in any case you should probably not open your mouth. Just nod in agreement. God forbid you look foolish.

Why shouldn’t you be afraid of this character?

Let me put it this way: are you still afraid of the monsters under your bed? How about the boogeyman hiding in your closet?

No. You grew up and realized it’s all a crock of shit.

The boogeyman doesn’t exist. And neither does this sort of Wine Snob. Perhaps he used to, when wine knowledge was the privileged domain of a privileged few. But we don’t live in that world anymore. There’s more (and generally better) wine out there today than ever. Perhaps more significantly, more people are drinking it and writing about it, thanks to a slew of wine-for-dummies style publications and even more blogs (of varying quality.) Everyone fancies themselves an expert, as they have the requisite amount of base knowledge and inflated sense of self-worth to feign mastery. While a few wine snobs may still exist, they are a dying breed and you’re unlikely to encounter them in day-to-day interactions. If you do, you ought to seriously reconsider your social circle.

So if fewer Wine Snobs exist, who has filled their void?

Easy. A whole bunch of assholes.

The Snob understands what he talks about, but is too eager to show it off; his crippling need for superiority is his Achilles’ heel. While such conduct is inexcusable, it’s not nearly as offensive as the Asshole, who fails on both the knowledge and communication fronts. He thinks he knows what’s he’s talking about, but it’s all hot air.

And I think we can all agree that while snobs or experts may be intimidating, assholes are not. They’re just a fucking pain.

I bring up this distinction because I’m sick of people telling me they don’t know what they want because they’re “not a wine expert.”

Very few people are. But that’s now what I asked you. I just want to know what you’d like to drink tonight. And unless you’re choosing a bottle for your boss or a chick you’d like to impress, the only person that needs to enjoy what you’re drinking is you.

(A caveat: I generally despise the notion that one’s personal taste trumps all. I don’t mean to suggest that the Inherently, Indisputably, and Immutably Good or Beautiful or Delicious exists – but don’t tell me that a well-made manzanilla jereth is not good because you don’t like it. Acknowledge that your palate can’t handle it and that you’d prefer something more approachable.)

So don’t use the Wine Snob or even the Asshole as a scapegoat for your laziness and indecisiveness. It’s a poor excuse, and as equal parts Snob & Asshole I’ll call you out every time.

wine talk, new & old

In random musings & frustrations on October 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm

It seems I have entered the twenty-first century.

I have joined the twitter. I finally get it. My heart is aflutter and my life afuller for it.

My first contribution:

Ah, Twitter, the prosecco of the internet: not a lot of substance, mostly fleeting effervescence and self-indulgence. Yet oddly addictive.

Prosecco, of course, is not inherently self-indulgent. That would be champagne, according to everyone who doesn’t drink champagne. What’s ironic – though not at all surprising – is how this lesser brother of the Sparkles family has been turned into something more than it actually is. Twenty-somethings guzzle the stuff mixed with peach purée and subsequently put a feather in their cap and call it a bellini. This is gross at best, self-indulgent at worst.

But of course this explanation well exceeds 140 characters.

With their boundless curiousity, disregard for the established sources of knowledge, and sanctimonious pursuit of all things authentic, the Millenials have done much to transform the world of wine. They are challenging how we write and talk about it and drinking crazy juice (ie, not chardonnay) to boot. Or at least that’s what a little bird told me.

But is twitter’s new language of vapid, clipped phrases really that different from the conventional way of communicating wine?

The de rigueur wine blurbs that clutter wine store shelves and cramped magazine tasting notes generally describe wine in 140 characters or less (although with fewer hashtags and lousy attempts at witticisms.) People seem to be saying a lot when they’re not really saying anything at all – in twitter, many wine publications, and the greater part of the Italian peninsula.